Kris Meeke finished the Wales Rally GB in fourth place in his Banbury-built Mini John Cooper Works WRC.
Team-mate Dani Sordo set the second fastest time in the final test of the day, the Power Stage at Monument, and finished 20th overall.
Meeke left Cardiff in the early hours of the morning 45 seconds behind the third placed Ford of Henning Solberg. From the first stage of the day Meeke was determined to do everything he could to snatch a podium on his home event, and by the start of the final stage of the day the gap was down to 1.8 seconds. Unfortunately he hit a rut and had a half-spin and this was enough to put paid to his challenge.
David Richards, team principal, said: “This event, like so many others, has had its ups and downs. Kris I am sure will reflect on that half spin on the last stage and what might have been, but there have been so many other occasions on the event when we could have also done a little bit better or had a bit better luck.
“At the end of the day when I look back on this rally and think where we have come in six months – Dani and Kris have achieved five top five positions in only six events – quite honestly the team has come of age and this is only just the beginning for the MINI WRC Team.”
Dirk Hollweg, head of Mini Motorsport, said he was overwhelmed by the success of the team, which was much better than expected.
He said: “We are very happy with the performance of the whole team and the drivers and we have a great spirit. This is of great benefit to the Mini and the John Cooper Works brand. This is exactly what we wanted.”
The event was won by Jari-Matti Latvala, in his Ford Abu Dhabi WRT Fiesta RS WRC, with his first win of the season.